Fancy taking to the air in a more gentile way? Maybe hot air ballooning is more your thing? A great way for all the family to enjoy views not available on the ground.
How fast and far do you fly? The balloon travels at the same speed as the wind. As the hot air balloon can only safely be inflated and flown in winds below 10 mph, the average distance is usually 7-10 miles "as the crow flies". The maximum forecast wind speed that can be flown is 15 mph at 2000 ft. Flights are usually at an altitude of between 500 - 1000 feet, but on occasions may climb to an altitude of 5000 feet - around a mile high!
Winds are generally lightest first thing in the morning and late afternoon. In the calm conditions in which you will fly, the basket hangs motionless in the air current in which it is travelling. The feeling is one of remaining totally still as the countryside is wound by underneath you.
The balloon travels with the wind and it is not possible to steer it, so this makes it impossible to make a round trip. After an hour's flight, the balloon will land in a suitable field and you will be collected and transported back to the launch site by road.
Family and friends can watch or join in the adventure. Non-flying participants are invited to follow the retrieve vehicle by road and assist with the takeoff and landing.
Subject to weather, flights can be offered all year round to try and fit in with everyone's taste and expectations and to make the most of seasonal changes in scenery and climate. The best weather is during British summer time and the main season runs from March to October where flights are available daily, both morning and evening, subject to weather. Flying in the winter is sporadic and depends on the condition of the fields as much as the weather.
It's always a good idea to book up to a couple of weeks in advance for a weekend flight and two or three days in advance for a weekday flight.
What should you wear? Sturdy flat shoes ideal for fields are essential, the ground is often quite damp first thing in the morning, so walking boots are recommended. It is not cold in the hot air balloon basket and if you are comfortably warm standing on the ground, you should only require a light additional layer of clothing. It is recommended that you wear casual clothing, i.e. long trousers and sleeves in natural fabrics and a hat to protect your head from the radiant heat of the burners.
Bring a camera and plenty of film to capture your experience but make sure that you can safely stow away your camera for landing.